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In a hearing focusing on anti-bullying legislation Friday at the Nevada Legislature, Dee Gregory’s testimony was chilling.
Gregory is the father of the Fallon High School wrestler who was stripped then urinated on by teammates during a December trip to Las Vegas. It was an incident that school coaches and administrators initially did not report to authorities.
The incident, which was reported by news media across the state, has left Gregory’s son broken and contemplating suicide. The incident shows that the state’s anti-bullying laws need to be strengthened, Gregory said.
“What happened to my son has made it impossible for him to go back to school,” Gregory told the Senate Education Committee. “Since Feb. 11, for 49 days my son has been hospitalized, and it is unclear when he will return to society or if we ever will.
“He wants to die and I work hard every day to keep him alive,” Gregory said. “To him, death is the ultimate protection. To him, death is his safe zone. To him, death means freedom from pain. To be dead ensures him that no one will ever hurt him again or violate him. Unless the law is changed, there is not hope.”
Two bills, SB 275 and SB 276, were designed after the Dec. 3 incident involving Gregory’s son to beef up current anti-bullying laws in Nevada.
SB 275, sponsored by Sen. Shelia Leslie, D-Reno, would make bullying a crime, a misdemeanor for the first offense but a felony for the third offense. It also provides civil liability for school districts that fail to comply with anti-bullying laws.
SB 276, sponsored by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, would set up a bullying prevention fund for the state’s general fund and force each Nevada school district to have an anti-bullying coordinator and every Nevada school to have an anti-bullying specialist and school safety team.
“The current law has made a mockery of my son and other victims,” Gregory said. “(These bills) will not stop bullying and hazing completely, but it will decrease the number of victims because the aggressors will know that there are consequences for their actions. This criminal behavior needs to stop.”
(CNN) — The family and friends of Jon Carmichael will speak out Thursday about his suicide and the effects of bullying.
His parents say it was bullying that led the 13-year-old to commit suicide, hanging himself in a barn near his home in Cleburne, Texas.
The family is scheduled to speak at a news conference, that comes four days after the first anniversary of Carmichael’s death.
On that anniversary, his parents, Jon Timothy and Tami Carmichael, filed a $20 million federal lawsuit against several officials at the school Jon attended, alleging they deliberately turned a blind eye to the bullying of their son, prompting his death.
In the lawsuit, documents state that staff and students at The Joshua Independent School District observed several explicit acts of bullying, including Jon being thrown into a trash can “easily a few times a week,” but did nothing to stop it.
“He was placed upside down in a toilet bowl, and had his head flushed several times, at each occasion. These acts were observed by other students who failed to report the incident,” the documents said. “Just prior to his death he was stripped nude, tied up and again placed into a trashcan.”
The lawsuit states that event was taped and put on YouTube, but was taken down “at the direction of an unknown staff member, who also failed to report the incident.”
Carmichael family attorney Martin J. Cirkiel said the family’s goal in issuing the lawsuit is to educate.
“On the human level, the family wants what every family wants when they come to me in these kind of cases. They want to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else,” the attorney said.
Cirkiel said the family would like to see a program developed in their son’s name and to be able to open a trust fund for kids who need it who are being bullied.
“They want to increase planning and education,” he said.
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